An eye on new products

The so-called break for Bassmaster Elite pros comes to an end this week as we gear up for the annual ICAST show in Orlando, then back on the tournament trail the following week.

I call it a so-called break because our time has been filled with working with sponsors creating new videos and advertisements for new tackle being introduced at the ICAST show.

I can’t complain though. I enjoy working with sponsors to develop products and then seeing the world’s reaction at ICAST to those new ideas.

It all comes together next week in Orlando, one of two places where new fishing gear is introduced annually. The Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo, held in conjunction with the Classic championship earlier in the year, has become a springboard for a few new products, but ICAST is where most of the new items are first displayed.

The show isn’t a consumer show, but rather a trade show where buyers from around the world come to examine new items up-close and cut deals.

It’s also become a huge media event as you will notice in the coming days. Everyone from print, radio, TV and website can be found walking the floors and gathering product info for their media outlets.

For example, already is displaying a few details on some of the early released products and will continue to provide an excellent place for you to see what’s new throughout the coming week.

I’m real excited about the introductions coming from my sponsors. I’m even working with a new company, an announcement that will be made next week.

I can’t reveal any of the details of the products I know about, but I’m sure you’re going to like what you see coming from Strike King, Quantum Huk and Mustad, to name a few.

You’re going to see new soft plastics and hardbaits from Strike King, cool hooks from Mustad, a red-hot reel from Quantum and snazzy clothing from Huk. Plano always has something new for anglers and the innovation from TH Marine never ceases to blow my mind.

Of course, the technological advances in electronics will continue to provide anglers with better ways to locate potential bass hot spots. I work closely with the engineers at Humminbird and know some of the things they are working on for now and into the future. It will be interesting to see what they unveil next week.

The ICAST Show also gives us a glimpse of some the creations developed by small companies that often set trends for the years ahead. Although my time is limited, I love to walk around and see some of the new creations coming from the grassroots level.

In addition to new tackle, B.A.S.S. will divulge the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Schedule during ICAST week and I can’t wait to see where we’ll be fishing next season.

But first things first – the St. Lawrence River event is my top priority as we head into the homestretch of the 2017 season. Look for the Toyota Angler of Year race to go down to the wire!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.